Culture / Sporting Life

Jose Siri Wakes Up the Astros With Super Swag, Gives Altuve a Crazy Gift — Unlikely World Series Changer Seizes His Moment

The Braves Never Expected to be Beaten by a Man Given Up on by Three Teams

BY // 10.28.21

Jose Siri is the fire emoji come to life. He’s lively enough to make the Energizer Bunny reconsider his career choice. For it’s hard to imagine anyone — or anything — capable of keeping up with this Dominican spark plug who just woke the Houston Astros up in the World Series. Even his teammates do not always seem quite sure what to make of him.

Siri walks into the interview room in the bowels of Minute Maid Park wearing an eye-catching blue and red Adidas track suit, with the jacket zipper pulled down to mid chest. The better to show his big 100 emoji necklace — and other gold — on his bare chest. A pair of white framed sunglasses with glistening lenses sit perched atop his head. He hugs Astros starting pitcher Jose Urquidy while the Game 2 winner is in the middle of answering a question. Then, when Jose Altuve enters, Siri quickly slides off a few of his rings and gives them to one of greatest postseason players in baseball history.

“He’s giving me his ring, so I can flash,” Altuve explains. “Have a little flash, bling.”

Yes, Jose Siri has so much swag he’s willing to share it with teammates. This is a career minor leaguer who did not make the Majors for the first time until after he was waved by three different teams and finally called up by the Astros this September. At age 26. Yet, Carlos Correa — the $350 million-plus free agent shortstop to be — may be the only player on the Houston roster who exudes more self confidence than Jose Siri.

And it’s a serious may be.

“I’ve never been scared to be honest,” Siri says through Astros interpreter Andrew Dunn-Bauman. “I just have to give thanks to God that I’ve never had fear. I’m not scared.”

Being scared would require slowing down, something Jose Siri does not believe in. He certainly does not do that while setting up the inning that pushes the Astros to a bounce back 7-2 win in Game 2 of the World Series. Jose Siri’s footprints — and energy — are all over the four run second inning that puts Jose Altuve and Co. back on track towards winning their second world championship in five years.

He does a credible Usain Bolt impression while hustling down the first base line to turn a broken bat dribbler that barely travels 65 feet and does so at rate that even the most anal traffic cop could not ticket (a 51,5 mph exit “velocity”) into an infield single. Then, Siri goes from first to third on Martin Maldonado’s single — and scores when the Braves somehow forget to cover third base.

Siri slides across home plate face first to score that run — the fourth Astros run of the game. Then, he immediately pops up, throws his arms into the air and starts screaming. “Vamos! Vamos!” Siri yells, using every bit of his lung power as Minute Maid Park absolutely roars for a guy even the most devoted Astros fan had never heard of six short weeks ago.

Suddenly, Houston’s ballpark is bonkers. No roof necessary to corral this noise. Suddenly, the best team in baseball since 2017 looks like itself again.

Jose Siri brings them back. Having this relentless bundle of energy around is like inviting a classic Warner Bros. cartoon character into your clubhouse.

Astros Minute Maid roof
With the roof open, Minute Maid Park was an October dream. (@astros)

World Series can be weird — with the grand stage, supersized attention and magnified pressure often creating unexpected outcomes. Even the most experienced teams can sometimes seem a half step behind as the Astros did in that Game 1 loss. Jose Siri brings them back. Having this relentless bundle of energy around is like inviting a classic Warner Bros. cartoon character into your clubhouse.

“I told Siri that his broken bat single, the way he run to first to third and scoring was probably what gave us the win tonight,” Altuve says, still wearing Siri’s ring. “He just, like I said, plays hard every day. He brings energy to our team. He’s just happy he had a good game to help us win.”

Jose Siri and the Power of Confidence

In truth, Jose Siri seems happy 99 percent of the time. He’s living his dream like only he can. Rather than be discouraged by the Reds, Mariners and Giants all giving up on him before the Astros signed him to a minor league contract last December, Siri seems convinced he’s still a star to be.

“I never lost confidence in myself,” he says. “I’m always ready for the opportunity to make an impact.”

Siri wouldn’t even be on the Astros World Series roster if Jake Meyers hadn’t crashed into the wall in Game 4 of the division series against the White Sox. He probably would not be playing if Dusty Baker still didn’t seem a little unsure about Chas McCormick either.

But there he is, in the lineup for Game 2 of the World Series. So you’re telling me there’s a chance. . .

Jose Altuve will add to his nearly unparalleled October legacy with a leadoff double in the first inning to set up the Astros first run and a home run into the Crawford Boxes in the seventh to finish things. Jose Urquidy will strike out seven in five innings, winning a World Series game for the second time in three years without walking a batter in either start. Michael Brantley will just keep collecting hits, adding his fourth and fifth of this World Series 18 innings into it.

But no Astro has more to do with this Fall Classic being tied 1-1 heading to Atlanta than Jose Siri. That tomahawk chop has nothing on this swaggy unknown Astro.

“Braves Country is real,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker says. “It’s real.”

Home field advantage is a difficult thing to rely on against these tough, proud Astros. The Boston Red Sox had not lost a home playoff game this October either. Then, the Astros rolled into town and took two of three at Fenway Park to put Boston’s season on life support.

“Nothing is easy in baseball — especially in the playoffs,” Altuve says. “But when you’ve been in situations before, you know how to handle it.”

Sometimes it also helps to have a guy who’s never been there. Who might never get there again. These Core Astros (Altuve, Correa, Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel) are chasing baseball immortality, trying to pass the LA Dodgers as the best team of this era with another World Series win. Much to the chagrin of the rest of America. Altuve has now hit 22 playoff home runs, tied for second all-time with former New York Yankees dynasty star Bernie Williams. Only Altuve has hit his 22 postseason home runs in 46 fewer October games than Bernie. These guys are chasing baseball history, even as that electronic sign stealing scandal is often used to try to dismiss it all.

Jose Siri? He’s just the wild man, hitching a ride, screaming and waving as he goes by. In a blur. Twenty six years old with eight long years in the minors and all those disappointments already behind him. Only, you’d never know it.

Logic says that Siri should be scarred by everything he’s been through to get this unlikely World Series shot. But when you have this much swag, the doubt never has a chance.

Don’t tell Jose Siri these are the biggest games of his life. He’s been playing large every step of the way, just waiting for someone to finally notice.

“I don’t know what else I could tell you except that the games in the Dominican Republic are some of the most exciting that I’ve been a part of,” Siri says.

Jose Siri is still sitting there, in that track suit, with those sunglasses at the ready, laughing with Altuve, one of the most famous men in baseball. At one point, Siri even makes the usually straitlaced Dunn-Bauman chuckle out loud at the table. He looks like he’s in no hurry to get off this stage. Why would he be?

Need a jolt? Jose Siri is ready.

Lynn Zarr, JR - Martha Turner Sotheby's

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